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December 11, 2009
Officer Robert and K9 Cody promote responsible pet gift giving for the holidays
Earlier today, Officer Robert (City of Toronto Provincial Offences Officer Robert Meerburg) and K9 Cody gave suggestions about ways to responsibly give the gift of pet ownership over the holidays.

“When you give a pet as a gift, remember that you are also giving the gift of lifelong responsibility. It is important when giving that type of gift that the recipient be involved in the selection,” Officer Robert told reporters at a media conference earlier today.

The holidays are a busy time of year, and considering bringing a new pet home at least one week before or sometimes after Christmas can be a good idea. It allows your pet to integrate with the family and not get forgotten during all the festivities.

Alternatives to giving a pet as a gift include giving a gift certificate to go together with the recipient to adopt a new pet at your local shelter once the holidays are over; or giving the gift of volunteering to cuddle cats or walk dogs at your local shelter; or making a donation to you local animal shelter in the recipient’s name. Instead of surprising the family with a cat or dog this holiday season, consider one of those methods of bringing an animal into your child’s life.

Giving the gift of volunteerism at one of the Toronto Animal Services animal shelters can help introduce children to the sense of responsibility and commitment that comes with owning an animal.

“We encourage responsible pet giving,” says Eletta Purdy of Toronto Animal Services. “We have many animals needing homes, but we want to make sure those animals get to the right homes at the right time. We don’t see many animals coming back after the holidays, indicating that Torontonians are acting responsibly when it comes to pet adoptions.”

Those who wish to make a donation to Toronto Animal Services can do so by calling 416-338-7297 (PAWS) or by visiting our website for further information at

Financial donations or donations from the animals’ wish list help support enhanced programs such as the Spay/Neuter, Extended Animal Care or Animal Adoption, Socialization and Enrichment programs, as well as help supply the shelters with additional equipment.

Animal shelter’s wish list:
• dog biscuits, denta bones, raw hides, and other dog treats
• cat treats, catnip
• small animal toys, treats
• bird toys, perches
• leashes, collars, halti-leads
• brushes, combs, nail trimmers for both cats, dogs and small animals
• special equipment such as heaters and/or lighting for exotic animals
• dog toys such as kongs, balls, ropes
• scratching posts, outdoor enclosures for cats
• dog houses for outdoor runs
• towels, blankets
• heating pads, hot water bottles
• Canadian Tire money
• food processors
• can openers

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. Toronto has won numerous awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. 2009 marks the 175th anniversary of Toronto's incorporation as a city. Toronto's government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

Media contacts:
Eletta Purdy, Manager, Toronto Animal Services, 416-338-1476,
Bruce Hawkins, Senior Communications Coordinator, 416-392-3496,



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